What Not to Wear – Yoga Edition

beginner-yogaI’ve recently rediscovered my love of yoga. When my daughter was very young, before my son was even a glint in his fathers’ eye, a friend and I would go to a yoga class at the gym. While I loved going, it became impossible to continue with my husband’s very hectic flight schedule and the lack of funds to pay a babysitter. Reluctantly, I gave up regularly attending a yoga class.

Fast forward to this summer when my now college-aged daughter found a Groupon for our local yoga studio. She wanted to go and asked if I would join her. After a little internal debate, I eventually said yes.

I must admit that I was a little reluctant to go to class the first time. I grew up feeling like the frog that when kissed, instead of becoming a fairy princess, would turn into a fairy dust bunny. I’ve worked incredibly hard over the last couple of decades to become comfortable in my own skin and I’m there. Most of the time.

Part of my trepidation about rejoining the yoga community had to do with the area I live in. We may not be South Beach or Pasadena, but my little slice of Texas is filled with big haired, tight bodied, beautiful women. Lots of the moms I’m surrounded with take great pride in their appearance and aren’t afraid to invest in themselves. I learned this at a Ladies Night Out event in my neighborhood. We were having a lovely evening, enjoying some cocktails and girl talk when the conversation turned to the possibility of a neighbor having an in-home Botox party. I very politely excused myself from the conversation and returned to my normal, wrinkle embracing life.

Prior to my first class at the studio, I was afraid I would be walking into a class full of Barbie dolls in tight yoga pants, sports bras and perfectly pony-tailed hair. I may be more confident now than I was 20 years ago, but I had no desire to feel like Broomhilda while attempting to contort my body into positions that only cats should find themselves in. Upon walking into the studio for the first time I was very pleasantly surprised. None of my, admittedly judgmental and paranoid, fears were realized. Instead of a room full of mean girls, I found a room full of warm, inviting and encouraging people. Not a plastic person in the bunch.

Finding myself comfortable in this studio, I decided to try as many different classes as possible. Everything was going swimmingly as I fell in love with yoga all over again. I looked forward to pulling on my workout gear, grabbing my mat and hitting the studio. I even bought myself a new pair of yoga pants as my old ones were a little big.

One Tuesday evening I decided to wear those new yoga pants to class. I typically wear a tight fitting, or a long flowing tank during my practice, but that night neither of those options were clean. I opted instead for one of my workout tees. It was a little shorter than I like, but it was comfortable so I didn’t give it a second thought. When I got to the studio, I settled my mat on the floor, hiked up my pants and prepared to warm up and get centered.

Yoga classes almost always start in a sitting position as we take a moment to get in touch with our breath and let the stress of the day float away. There I was focusing on my breath when I felt a little breeze on my back. Realizing that my shirt had ridden up a bit, I reached back and pulled it down, then returned to setting my intention for my practice.

My practice was going well until my first downward facing dog. For the uninitiated, that’s a position where you plant your feet on the back of your mat, bend forward and place your hands at the top of your mat forming a wide v shape. Then you focus on dropping your weight into the mat and sticking your butt up in the air. I planted my feet and started to bend over. As I did that, I felt my shirt fall towards my head and my pants start to make their way closer to my hips. I quickly stood up, made the necessary adjustments to my wardrobe and did my best to find a decent down dog pose.

Progressing through the various poses in class, I found myself frequently having to pull my shirt down and my pants back up. Yes, it was a little annoying, but it really wasn’t a big deal. I just readjusted when necessary and then soldiered on. I was managing to hold it all together, well, actually keep it all up, until we entered into the floor portion of the class. Apparently, all of the up and down dog, plank and cobra was, unbeknownst to me, quietly taking its toll on another piece of my clothing.

Preparing for bridge pose, I rolled down onto my mat, bent my knees and rolled my shoulders under my back as if I was reading a book. I walked my feet closer to my sit bones and lifted my pelvis into the air. At that exact moment, my overtaxed, and aged, underwear decided it was time to allow its elastic band to break free. Literally. So here I am, butt in the air, shirt riding up, pants, and now my underwear, riding down. To add insult to injury, I was in the front of the class. If I didn’t manage to find a way to rectify my situation before we got up off the mat, the entire row behind me was about to see the moon indoors, which I’m certain would have been responsible for at least a couple of cases of temporary blindness.

I laid there for a moment trying to wrap my head around my predicament. I came to the realization that I was going to have to continue lying on my mat until class was over and everyone had left. No one would notice I did 20 minutes of relaxation to end my practice instead of the usual five, right? I quickly pushed that notion aside and accepted the fact that I was going to have to reach into the back of my pants to try to return my underwear to its rightful place, hoping that no one would notice. I opened my eyes, quickly scanned the room, and not seeing the whites of anyone’s eyes decided to go for it. I got ‘er done and then made another scan of the room to make sure no one had seen me reaching into my pants like a bored three-year-old. I thought I was in the clear until I got to the very last person in class. I locked eyes with the gentleman at the back of the studio and could tell from his embarrassed smile that he had witnessed my wardrobe malfunction. I quickly turned back to the front of the class and refused to look in his direction again – even when we did a twist that faced his way. I also decided that I needed to figure out which car he drove to yoga so that I could be on the lookout for it to ensure we were never in class together again.

Much to my relief, I made it through the rest of class without another clothing induced incident. As I settled into my final resting pose and began to relax, I couldn’t help but giggle to myself. I’ve always said that when given the choice between laughing and crying, I choose to laugh. It’s just more fun. I finally settled down and enjoyed the quiet and peace that I find in only three places – in prayer, hiking a trail in the mountains and on my mat at the end of practice. By the end of class I was relaxed and had nearly put the whole thing behind me.

When class was over, I rolled up my mat and headed for the door. Walking out of the studio, I accidentally locked eyes with the man that witnessed my bridge pose pantsing. I’m certain I turned bright red and I fully expected him to start laughing. Instead he just smiled kindly, nodded and walked out into the parking lot.

It may be wishful thinking, but I like to believe that gentleman has forgotten what he saw. But if not, it’s okay. I still go to yoga, wearing a long shirt to be sure, and I enjoy it even more now than I did two months ago. I don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon. And if Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear try to ambush me with an offer replace my yoga wardrobe? I’ll gladly give up those yoga pants and that shirt. But they’ll have to go digging through the landfill for those underwear.

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